"So, when you said just a few minutes ago that you love me, you were LYING TO ME?!?"
I tried not to eavesdrop - at first. My back was to the troubled couple and in the mostly empty dining room, absent a dining companion of my own, there was nothing to buffer the breakup. I'd been feeling sorry for myself. A weekend frolic with my husband in New Orleans was thwarted by sudden emergency surgery for one of our dogs. Not only did he have to stay put in Brooklyn - I couldn't get back to be with my family because exorbitant change fees atop an $1173 vet bill was economically unfeasible.
At least I wasn't getting dumped at a restaurant.
Our waiter knew the score. He sees this happen about four times a year and he gives the unhappy couple a close eye (lest they suddenly need the check, tissues, a police escort...) and a wide berth. Chances are that only one of the two of them was planning for the night to turn out like this and the other might end up in need of a cab home or a comped Cabernet at the bar.
For the record they left, somberly, after a prolonged silence. I finally got a look at their faces - hers stoic, his tear-stained. They were holding hands as they rounded the corner, but it was more than evident - a sweet ending was not on the menu for either of them tonight.
Share your tales of dining and dating in the comments below. We're here for you.
p.s. My dog made it through and is resting comfortably at home, in case you're interested.